Sometimes people think that personal or gym training is designed to make you look muscly, or lose fat, but if you are someone involved in a sport and particularly a sport that requires great balance and physical fitness, the ability to work with your body, becomes an essential part of being the best rider you can be.
It is not about building up muscle, however this can help particularly if you are naturally small and need a bit more seat in order to feel comfortable in the saddle, but more than that, it is about learning to control your movements, learning to connect the contraction of one muscle, with the reaction it has to the muscles around it.
We see many riders who lean to the left, or draw up one leg, or pull on one rein, and quite possibly their horse is so used to it that they never know they do it.
“We see many riders who lean to the left, or draw up one leg, or pull on one rein (…)”
The right ‘off the horse’ training can teach you to become aware of where your centre of gravity lies, and you might be very surprised how the simple act of asking yourself to THINK about what muscles are working, and THINK as to whether you are straight, can reveal some very surprising feedback.
I had a trainer who would stretch me at the end of my training session, and I had him convinced that he put more strength on the left leg than the right, when in actual fact I was so used to tilting slightly to the left that I was certain the imbalance was coming from outside.
I began training off the horse for many reason, to strengthen my core (which of course is where a rider finds all their stability), to increase the muscle mass around my hip which is my weak point, but most of all to learn the mind/muscle connection, to achieve a real sense of how my body works and how that relates to my position on the horse.
Do you want to start an off the horse regime, and feel you need help gaining knowledge on the sorts of exercises you can do to strengthen your core, and become a more effective rider?
Are you a non-rider, who would just love to relieve the tension or pain you have that was created after years of bad posture, or compensation tendencies in your daily work?
If you have something specific you would like to get help with, write to us here, Duarte is a qualified personal trainer who is now in touch with the specific training requirements of equestrians, and I’m on the same journey as you, trying to get myself the best I can be for my horse, and for my wellbeing.
For Specific Exercises designed for equestrians follow our Facebook page “Core Trainer”